NASCAR penalizes Erik Jones, LMC for illegal modification

NASCAR issued another set of penalties Wednesday for illegal modifications to its second-year Next Gen car, this time against Legacy Motor Club and driver Erik Jones.

NASCAR said the team modified the greenhouse on the No. 43 Chevrolet and fined crew chief Dave Elenz $75,000 and suspended him one race. Both Legacy and Jones were also docked 60 points and five NASCAR playoff points.

NASCAR has taken a zero tolerance stance on modifications to its new car, which debuted last year and is largely a spec vehicle with single-source vendor parts. It was designed to both cut costs and even the playing field.

An emphasized written deterrence system was created with penalties clearly laid out for altering the Next Gen. Last week, NASCAR docked 120 points from both Chase Briscoe and Stewart-Haas Racing and stripped Briscoe of 25 playoff points. Crew chief John Klausmeier was suspended six races and fined $250,000.

"We would much rather be talking about the phenomenal racing we just had... than penalties," Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said last week. "We are the custodians of the garage."

NASCAR in March hammered Hendrick Motorsports with the largest combined penalties for a single organization in series history. HMS was docked 100 regular-season points and 10 playoff points for three drivers for modifying air-deflecting pieces at Phoenix Raceway.

An appeals panel later overturned some of the penalties against Hendrick, as well as for Kaulig Racing.